Bringing days of speculation to an end over whether Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela will be contesting the Lok Sabha polls or not, the party on Saturday named him as the official Congress candidate. It was widely believed that he might quit the party if denied a ticket.
Apart from Naranbhai Rathwa, who is fielded from Chhotaudepur (ST) seat, eight candidates have been repeated. Rathwa, who lost the 2009 polls, is being given a ticket from the same seat.
The names of candidates for the Patan and Kheda constituencies have been held back. These constituencies are at present held by party MPs Jagdish Thakor and Dinsha Patel. While Dinsha Patel had expressed reluctance to contest, the situation is fluid for Thakor.
In a press statement issued on Saturday and signed by AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry, the names of the following have been cleared by the party: Sabarkantha-Shankarsinh Vaghela, Surendranagar-Somabhai Gandabhai Patel, Rajkot-Kuvarjibhai Bavalia, Jamnagar-Vikrambhai Madam, Anand-Bharatbhai Solanki, Dahod ST-Dr Prabhaben Taviyad, Chhotaudepur ST-Naranbhai Rathwa, Bardoli ST-Dr Tusharbhai Chaudhary and Valsad ST-Kishanbhai Patel.
The second round, expected to be held next week, will see candidates for the Banaskantha seat vacated due to death of sitting Congress MP Mukesh Gadhavi and Vitthal Radadiya, who joined the BJP after quitting his Rajkot seat and went on the win Porbandar Lok Sabha seat later in a by-election.